Back of the House

Todd English Tries to Forget 2009

Photo: Regan Communications

“It’s been a year of reinvention,” understates Todd English in a massive Globe profile of the celebrity chef. To recap: English was named in no fewer than five lawsuits, including one filed by the landlord of his D.C. Olives; the owner of a Soho apartment he leased; the florist for his aborted wedding, a New York publicist; and, most bizarrely, a New York recording studio, which charges that English rented the studio and never paid. Are we missing out on a Todd English album?

His wedding to Erica Wang was canceled, bringing with it tabloid accusations on both sides. He shuttered three restaurants: the aforementioned D.C. Olives, as well as the chain’s Aspen outpost, and Fish Club in Seattle. Perhaps most damningly, his once stellar reputation as a chef has been tarnished. “The man is a near-genius as a chef. And yet people who are near-geniuses are often the ones whose food is hardest to translate into mass production. I think his restaurants are okay…I just get disappointed by seeing a truncated version of what a great chef might do,” says GQ critic Alan Richman, who calls himself English’s “greatest fan.”

So how does English plan to recover from his terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year? With more projects, of course! In addition to Boston’s forthcoming Curly Cakes, he’s planning a food court in New York’s Plaza, a restaurant in Vegas, a line of children’s food, a TV show pilot, and a line at Club Monaco. One project that’s off the table: his long awaited (since 2007!) Boston burger bar.

Plenty Cooking in Todd English’s Kitchen [Globe]

Todd English Tries to Forget 2009